Veronica Burt, public policy advocate and organizer for JUST Equity, works diligently with other community organizations within the African American community in the historic Rondo neighborhood. Their shared passion for racial justice and equitable development brings awareness to community members so that they can voice their questions and concerns.
“We look at the large development projects and the impact they will have on the communities around them,” says Burt. “I look at the policies that exist on the books, to see if they will be beneficial or harmful to the community and then work to organize our communities to take action.”
JUST Equity is a network of several local community development groups, including the Aurora/Saint Anthony NDC, North Side Development Council and the NAACP (Saint Paul Chapter), all African Americans working for the betterment of their communities.
They are looking at the Central Corridor light rail line as one such project, with the hindsight of the construction of Interstate 94, in the 1960s through the Rondo neighborhood; they are hoping to see something different with this transportation project.
Community members were made aware of the project when it was still in the beginning stages and were able to ask questions about positive and negative impact on their communities and livelihoods.
JUST Equity has set out with the goal of “Lifting our community members out of poverty and not out of the community,” Burt said.
“We want to stay in our neighborhoods and we want to thrive,” says Burt. “The end goal to our particular effort and emphasis is essentially, development that takes place in this community that would be a benefit to the African American community. … What we want is a Rondo Renaissance … a revitalization vision that honors our community’s history, helps preserve what we have left in Rondo, helps restore components of the Rondo community, and builds wealth for our community members.”
JUST Equity seeks to be a partner with government agencies so that, together, they may be thoughtful planners of projects that lead to restoring and healing our communities.
About JUST Equity
JUST Equity is a network of several local community organizations, including Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, North Side Development Council, and the Saint Paul Chapter of the NAACP.
Veronica Burt, Public Policy Advocate/Organizer